By Padmini Parthasarathy
Carrie Hammer is known for her unusual models. Founder of the self-named online custom designer boutique, Hammer has made a habit of featuring powerful professional women in her fashion shows and online catalogue. In February 2014, she made fashion history by featuring a model in a wheelchair on the runway.
At this Friday's show, at Mercedez Benz fashion week, her newest model comes with a story. A five handkerchief kind of tale.
Seeing Danielle Scheypuk wheel down the runway earlier this year inspired one of Hammer's fans, Karen Crespo from Los Angeles, to send a heartfelt email. She had lost her limbs after falling ill with bacterial meningitis, losing some of her confidence as well. She wrote to Hammer, "I have a passion for fashion, so I hope one day I will get to show the world, 'Why can't people with disabilities, people like me, be beautiful and model?' Maybe one day, if I ever get to go to New York, I will be able to meet you."
Her dream is becoming a reality. Karen will be featured as a model in the September show.
There's more: new prosthetic limbs that were shipped to Karen's home were stolen. Hammer was heartbroken when she heard about this, and decided to do something about it. She reached out to Hanger Inc., a company that makes prosthetic arms, and together they made a new state-of-the-art set for Crespo.
Carrie Hammer offers a variety of dresses, separates, and accessories for the working woman’s wardrobe—wthether you're in a wheelchair or not.